Stuffed Grape Leaves with Black Rice + Dried Blueberries

Stuffed Grape Leaves with Black Rice + Dried Blueberries

I’ve been taking my pup to this park every single day for about 3 years. Imagine how excited I was when I discovered that sandwiched between the honeysuckles and poison ivy there grows an invasive, edible vine just waiting to be stuffed with all kinds of goodies! I was just hanging out with my crazy dog loving peeps when my friend began plucking leaves. This kind of behavior prompted me to grill him on what exactly it was he was doing. “Wild grape leaves, I’m going to stuff them”, he said. With what and how do you roll it and how do you cook them and what kind of spices do you use? Tell me everything, I need to know! First I got a lesson on selecting the right leaf – the large ones with the hairy veins are too tough, the little ones obviously won’t hold enough of the good stuff but the medium sized ones that feel tender are just right. His family is from Syria so they make their stuffed grape leaves with rice, lamb, cinnamon and clove. I decided to stick to that theme – minus the meat. I stuffed my leaves with black rice, chickpeas, dried wild blueberries, pine nuts  and some spiced sautéed onions. To my surprise they were more than edible, they were delicious. If you don’t have access to grape leaves, any other mild, sturdy green would be good. And if you’re thinking there is no way in hell you’re going to spend your time making all these cute little rolls then sauté the greens with the onions and serve them with the rice. Yum.

Stuffed Grape Leaves with Black Rice + Dried Blueberries

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Stuffed Grape Leaves with Black Rice + Dried Blueberries  Stuffed Grape Leaves with Black Rice + Dried Blueberries  Stuffed Grape Leaves with Black Rice + Dried Blueberries

 

Ingredients for the Stuffed Grape Leaves

1/2 cup of black rice

1/2 cup of chickpeas

1 small onion

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup dried blueberries

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground clove (or whole clove for pinning the leaves)

oil and or butter for sautéing onion

about 50 grape leaves or other sturdy green

1 lemon

 

Lemony Yogurt Dip

Juice of one lemon

1/2 cup of plain yogurt

salt and pepper to taste

 

 

Directions 

Cook the rice per instructions as well as the chickpeas (if using dried). In a pan with a bit of oil and butter sauté the minced onion with the spices until translucent and fragrant. In a large bowl mix the cooked rice, cooked chickpeas, sautéd onion, blueberries and pine nuts together. Start rolling! Place about a tablespoon of stuffing on the lower half of a clean leaf. Start by folding up the bottom, then both slides and then rolling up the top to close. Thinly slice one lemon. Place the rolls in a steamer and layer lemons between each layer as shown. Steam until tender, about 15 minutes. For the yogurt dip, stir the lemon juice and yogurt together until combined, add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Serve the stuffed grape leaves with yogurt dip.

 

Notes 

There are a variety of ways to prepare and spice this dish. The leaves can be blanched and then steamed for better stuffing control or just rolled raw. Don’t worry about making the perfect roll, just have fun!

Grape leaves in the jar are also available online!

10 Responses to “Stuffed Grape Leaves with Black Rice + Dried Blueberries”

  1. cheri

    Hi Grace, your pictures are amazing, I love this combination of ingredients, bet they are delicious stuffed in these wonderful little packets.

    Reply
  2. Em @ the pig & quill

    When I was 15, I worked in a Greek deli and loved chomping down dolma after dolma on my lunch break. (And too many squares of baklava. And the most ridiculously delicious grilled eggplant pitas. But I digress…) I love that these seem like something between those pickly, cold stuffed grape leaves and stuffed cabbage, which I also love! So many good things happening! Needless to say, LOOOVE these. No surprise, of course. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Katie @ Whole Nourishment

    Wow, this sounds amazing. I love the spice combo and that you’re using black rice and dried blueberries! What an amazing pairing, definitely my kind of flavors. May have to use cabbage leaves though because I’m don’t think I’ll be able to find wild grape leaves anywhere. 😉

    Reply
  4. Jo from Yummyvege

    They look gorgeous. If you can’t find WILD grape leaves you can buy them in glass jars in the supermarket. Obviously if you find wild ones in the park that’s MUCH better tho’

    Reply

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